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Daemonistan: - the Lutheran paradise

Daemonistan: - the Lutheran paradise

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Daemonistan: - the Lutheran paradise

Lunghezza:
208 pagine
3 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 19, 2016
ISBN:
9788771709032
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Denmark is the country in the world where Lutheranism has the greatest impact on culture, government and policy. It has an impact on everything from taxes to education, from criminality to sexual ethics.

The Danish way of life can only be understood in the light of the Lutheran religion and its anthropology.

In this little book, we review the basic features of the Lutheran religion, which the Danes - under the Danish Constitution § 4 - are obliged to support.

Only very few people understand how this fusion of state and religion works, and that is precisely the premise and the reason why it works. Just as a fish does not know what water is, the Danes then do not know what Lutheranism is. And most of them do not care.

But there are exceptions. Some wish to understand and therefore desire to obtain real information about what the background is to the Danish religion and the culture of the Lutheran Paradise.
This book is intended for those people.
Pubblicato:
Jan 19, 2016
ISBN:
9788771709032
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Jakob Munck (b. 1948) is a Cultural Sociologist from Copenhagen. He has written 30 books, whose titles and content can be seen on his website (www.jamu.dk).

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Anteprima del libro

Daemonistan - Jakob Munck

Munck

2. LUTHERANISM AND DANISH IDENTITY

The content and theology of a religion can always be interpreted in different ways, and this of course also applies to the religion that I am dealing with here, namely Lutheranism. Whether or not one likes this religion depends of course, on what you put into it. If you believe that its core is to follow your own conscience, that there is direct contact between God and the individual believer, and that discharge does not provide entry into heaven, then it is certainly a positive religion that most people in the Christian world could join. And since it is precisely these characteristics that Danes associate with Lutheranism, then it is not so strange that they - in the vast majority of cases - adhere to this doctrine. It is simply common sense and good morals, and who would not like to join in in these virtues?

However, this book is written by a person who has read the Lutheran writings, so allow me to give a somewhat different view of the contents of the Lutheran religion than the one I just presented. I do not deny that the above interpretation of Lutheranism is a possibility, but I must, however, maintain that it is out of line with the writings of Martin Luther himself. The interpretation I myself believe in is a lot more critical, and the reason is that I know Luther from the original source, that is his own writings.

I am aware that some Lutheran theologians would argue, that I completely misunderstand what Lutheranism is about. But the following review is not based on any kind of postulate, as I have taken the trouble to read not only Luther's own writings, but also some more recent and reputable Danish Lutheran theologians' interpretations of how Lutheranism is to be understood. I believe that I can pretty much protect myself against the persons that would say that I do not understand what I am dealing with. I believe I do!

I also hope that the readers understand that it is necessary to become acquainted with the basic writings of Lutheran theology to evaluate the religion itself. My intention in this book is to show a correlation between Danish identity and culture on the one hand and the Lutheran theology on the other. That such a relationship exists no one would deny, but depending on how you interpret the Lutheran doctrine, and depending on how one chooses to describe the Danish society and its culture, the relationship can differ a lot.

I am sure my writings will create a picture that many priests in the Lutheran Church will condemn. They will think that it is negative, and they are probably right. In return, I will say that the picture that is created by Lutheranism’s own advocates is even more negative and only serves to justify the Lutheran church and the belief that the Lutheran priests earn their money to spread this belief.

Who is right? The Lutheran theologians or the author of this book? Ultimately, the reader decides what he wants to believe, but first and foremost he must accept that Lutheranism can be interpreted in different ways. If you are living in a Lutheran country then you have probably never heard anything but good things about Lutheranism. You are probably used to hearing about the issues of this book portrayed by members and representatives from the Lutheran Church, and the picture you get is completely different from the picture you will become acquainted with here. Because I do not intend to be apologetic and to defend the Lutheran religion, rather, I intent to describe it as it is. And if there is something that people living in the Lutheran countries are not used to, then it's criticism of the Lutheran religion. Criticism of Lutheranism was illegal for more than 300 years (1536–1848), from the Reformation and up until we had our first Constitution, and still today, almost all news and media contributors in our country govern themselves by a form of voluntary religious censorship. It is stated in the Danish constitution, that the state has to support the Lutheran religion and therefore everyone who wants to gain approval from the state, will never criticize the Lutheran religion.

Our country not much differs from the former Eastern States, where it was the communist party that controlled all media and educational institutions. Here in Denmark, and in Scandinavia, it is not only a single party, but all those people whose interests and livelihood depends of this particular religious denomination that will defend Lutheranism. They don’t know much about the content of this religion and they don’t care, but they know it is the basis of their personal pecuniary income.

But now: What is Lutheranism?

1. Determinism and demonization

An understanding of the Lutheran theology must be based on an understanding of its concept of human nature. For Luther the starting point was that man has no free will and that all human actions are expressions of evil. In his treatise on The Enslaved Will, he wrote,

why freedom of human will is to choose an existence as a slave to sin, in death and Satan, man will not accomplish anything and he will not be able to accomplish anything or even to strive for nothing but evil things (1).

Man has in itself

only hatred of the good and feel like the evil (2),

and therefore it is - by its own nature - always against God's will. Luther concluded that

"you can only sin, even how you'll get along" (3).

There is no need to quote further, to emphasize the main point in Lutheran thinking. You will find this idea in all of Martin Luther’s writings. How he came to this perception is not important for our dealings in this book, so I will not waste the reader's time with additional quotes. If in doubt, you can read the quoted paper where the Lutheran concept is clearly made. Man is evil and he has no free will - that is the main point. Some may question the logical contradiction between declaring on the one hand that Man does not have free will, and at the same time, that he always does evil. But for Luther this was basic fact of the Christian faith, and we should not discuss their relationship further. Theology, as you know, cannot always be explained rationally.

2. Regiment Doctrine and obedience duty

The second distinguishing feature of Lutheran thinking is the two- regiment doctrine that Luther himself explains as follows:

Therefore God created two regiments, the spiritual through which the Holy Spirit makes people Christians and pious under Christ, and the secular which restricts the non-Christians and puts evil on them, so they in the outer must keep the peace and tranquility, against their will (4)"

Since the world is evil and nearly one out of a thousand is really a Christian, humans would if they were not put to the sword, fight each other (5).

The Lutheran state ideal is therefore authoritarian. Luther recommends that the rulers - always and without hesitation - use the means necessary to beat the evil forces.

A worldly kingdom, which only serves the wrath of God punishing the wicked and a true forerunner of hell and eternal death, shall not be merciful, but firm, strict and anger-like in its service and ministry. For its hallmark is not a rosary or a love flower, but a drawn sword (6).

Luther knew that the Gospel does not contain any political recipe, and

for that reason gospel teaches nothing about how to organize and exercise the secular regime, beyond that it is mandatory that you should honor it and that one should not put up a fight against it (7).

The consequence of this is that the revolt against rulers is not permitted and that the political ideal of the Lutheran faith is passive submission. Therefore Luther supported the kings and the princes by teaching that:

you have to act like a Christian, no noble wage war against his head, i.e., the king and emperor or who are otherwise is his liege lord. For the authorities must not be resisted by force, but only by recognition of the truth (8).

3. Subjectivism and concept of God

The third characteristic of the Lutheran theology is subjectivism. For Luther, it is

"only the heart's trust and faith produces both God and idol." (9).

God's existence is not something objective; God exists only for our consciousness. This makes modern Danish Lutheran theologians believe that God's own being - if God exists at all - is dependent on Man's faith, for

God of creation is a hidden majesty (10);"

An objective, neutral learn about the attributes of God is not possible (11).

P.G. Lindhardt said, therefore,

if your faith is right then your God is also right and vice versa. (12)

God is therefore nothing other than what people think he is. In it self, he does not exist, or at least we cannot have knowledge of such an existence. Therefore God exists only in the faith, and rather than he having made Man, it is Man himself who created him in his own image as the philosopher Feuerbach wrote. The world we live in and the way we experience this world, is also the result of our subjective perceptions. What we perceive as being beautiful, ugly, good or evil, are only expressions of our own subjective beliefs, because no truth can exist independently of our belief. The idea that one proposition has a higher validity than another, is based on pure convention, or - as is the case today - on a majority decision.

This philosophy was further developed by the German Protestant philosopher Kant (1724–1804), who claimed that there was an unbridgeable gap between the worlds as it was an sich and the way in which man experienced this world für sich. All knowledge was therefore only subjectively valid, and when this knowledge was about metaphysical questions, ethics, morality and aesthetics, man could do nothing else than rely on his own faith and his own fantasies. The distinction between the subjective and the objective was insurmountable and the true realization of an existing reality was impossible. The Christian faith was thus - in the end - nothing but a cultural phenomenon that one might speak of, but which did not provide any definitive truth.

4. Ethics

The fourth characteristic of the Lutheran doctrine is about ethics. When people always do evil, then it is obviously pointless to speculate about ethics and morality, which of course assumes that there is a difference between good and evil. Lutheran theologians such as K.E. Løgstrup, therefore reject

that can be given a special Christian morality, which advises on human life’s many problems (13),

and it is claimed that

no human action in itself is good or can be so (14) (N.H. Søe).

At times, criticism of morality is sharpened further by using, for example. P.G. Lindhardt who claims that God - if he exists - in fact cares more about the sinner than the person who follows the teachings of Christ, because God

is good against evil and ungrateful, and only to them. (15).

Furthermore dogma professor Regin Prenter reassures his readers that judgment does not exist, for

Christian teaching does not know of any kind of judgment. (16)

He is not even quite sure about this and immediately after writes that

"consequently, the judgment is no moral assessment of man… God's judgment is a judgment not of a man's deeds, but over its person. Not what it has done, but what it has been "(17).

The Christian religion, as construed by Lutheranism, has nothing to do with morality, and Christian believers do not have to worry about their own behavior in the light of God's judgment. Firstly that judgment does not exist, and secondly, God prefers the bad to the good. If Lutheran believers therefore have no moral concerns, all they have to worry about is to appear in a good light to their fellow beings, because God does not care.

5. Lutheran work ethics

The fifth characteristic of Lutheranism is its view regarding work. The issue being that Man - according to Luther - cannot do anything morally good, is not the same as Lutheranism not having an ideal of life. Precisely due to Luther believing that the secular and the spiritual reigns were separated, any kind of legal norms are however only justified by the conditions in the first of these regiments. It is required here, as mentioned earlier, that the believer is obedient to the authorities, but it is also important that they understand themselves each as a working people, for the good work that God does not count for anything, can very easily - Luther admits - bring joy to other people. Man does good work by obeying his principal in doing physical labor and N.H. Søe explains that:

"whoever wants to

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